My NYFW Experience

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Think Sex and the City: Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda all sitting down to watch a fashion show in NYC dressed to the nines.

That’s what I was thinking when I was asked to go to New York Fashion Week (NYFW) with an emerging PR firm out of Southern California.

Of course I said, “yaaaas!” I purchased the package they offered which included all-expenses-paid lodging, meals, panel speakers, VIP access to fashion shows, a personalized photo shoot, and transportation around the city.

It sounded too good to be true. The first thing I did was look the company up and try to see if they were a scam, but their site looked legit, and my concerns fell away.

As it turns out, I was right to be suspicious: I was almost scammed out of a large sum of money (let’s just say in the realm of a YSL bag).

Before I explain further, let’s cover the good parts of the trip.

I had an AMAZING time exploring New York City and I met some amazing ladies (check out my girl @carlymal and her blog carlydaily.com!) I was actually really scared to go to NYC, because I’m afraid of feeling like a tourist. In a big city like NY, I was afraid I would be robbed, or scammed (lol) or taken advantage of in some way because I wasn’t a local. But people were really nice, and pretty much everyone is a tourist anyway! So I would say I conquered my fear of New York and learned from it.

Going into this blogger conference, I was also afraid of the girls I would meet. Instagram can be so “fake” that I really wasn’t sure what to expect. But not one of those girls was self-centered and we connected IMMEDIATELY! We all had something in common and could share stories and advice!

I was able to see a REAL LIVE FASHION SHOW, I saw the Empire State Building (tip, go at 1am, no one is there!) I went shopping, I got my black and white cookie, and had soooooo much coffee!

Now onto the unfortunate part…

This is painful for me to write because it’s hard to say it out loud and embarrassing: I was scammed.

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I started to notice things seemed a little off when the company kept emailing me the same questions, aggressively asking me to pay a balance I already paid, and didn’t provide a list of the other influencers prior to the event. I was worried I would show up and not have a hotel room.

When I arrived, I realized I was right to be worried. The hotel we stayed at was unaware of our previous agreement with the firm, and I was charged separately for my hotel room.

The “gourmet meal” promised was a piece of avocado toast, and there was NO COFFEE. I cannot stress this enough.

When two other girls and I went to the fashion show, we learned the company only purchased one ticket for all three of us. Luckily the event staff let us in, “standing room only”.

We were promised to be paired with a designer and would wear their pieces in a photoshoot taken by a professional photographer. When we arrived, not all designers were not present (mine included). The misinformed staff told us to pick out whatever we would like to try on. Why did firm send so many emails asking for our measurements?

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The shoot, which crammed 22 of us in a tiny store, lasted 10 minutes and produced only 3 photos. The owner/director of this PR company told us we could all take a piece from this showroom home, but when ladies started taking things the designers that were there freaked out because they weren’t aware of this. I was told I couldn’t take a product because this poor designer already lost multiple pieces (and probably hundreds of dollars). It was awkward for everyone.

I also had to pay for all transportation around the city.

The hero of this story is PayPal, which I used to deliver my initial deposit to the PR firm. When I got home, I asked for a reversal of my original payment, explained my case to them. After a couple weeks of research, they refunded my initial payment to the firm in full.

Also on the plus side, I did have a lot of fun in New York and learned a lot about the city, traveling and some of the best insta spots!! If you want to know some of my tips and tricks I learned from my trip, see below!

Research Fashion Week

Research the big PR firms, and ask for testimonials from other influencers. One of the things that seemed off with this company was that they didn’t have that, and also didn’t give me the names of the girls who were even going with my group. I googled them and went off 1 YouTube video and their website (which they made private after this whole incident by the way. Can you say Shaaaaaa-dy). This firm said they had done fashion week 5 times. Their expertise didn’t show.

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Know where the shows are

This PR firm delivered specific locations where NYFW shows and events would be. When I got there I realized none of these were actually legitimate NYFW events.

If you have a ticket to a legitimate event, you are sent an email addressed to YOU, with a QR code and seating designation.

Know the apps

It was too late for me when I went, but some of the other girls told me about GPS Radar, an app that shows you where all the major shows and events are happening. You can requests invites through this app. You need to do this a few months in advance, and it lets you know who to reach out to with questions.

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Plan your outfits!

One thing I wasn’t prepared for was how many random people would come up and ask to take a picture of me or with me or when we showed up to the fashion shows. There were so many photographers there standing around that took a picture of you when you approached the venue. Of course, once one person takes a picture of you, EVERYONE starts taking a picture of you. They think you’re somebody!

Additionally, find yourself some really comfy heels, like boots, pumps, or sandals. You will want to dress up because that’s just how New York City is. I was able to spend most of my time attending events or shooting wearing my Lulu’s booties. The rest of the time I wore my Topshop $40 tennis shoes that I could style like streetwear.

I hope these tips and tricks helped. If you have any questions about my experience with the PR company, please private message me and I’d be happy to chat more. Look out for my NY travel guide coming later this week!

Thanks for reading, stay neutral,

xoxo

Rachel